Weighing in on Obesity and Breastfeeding

Lactation Consultants of Great Britian LCGBSession Content 2015

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., IBCLC

Public health officials have been sounding the alarm about the “obesity epidemic,” not only in the U.S., but in industrialized nations around the world. In response, breastfeeding is offered as an important preventative measure for both maternal and childhood obesity. Unfortunately, strategies designed to improve breastfeeding rates among women with higher BMIs often backfire and become self-fulfilling prophecies by discouraging heavier women from breastfeeding. Despite these limitations, breastfeeding has an important role to play in obesity prevention. This presentation provides an overview of current research on surprising causes of obesity, such as sleep disorders, psychological trauma, and discrimination and outlines the limitations of current approaches. This session also describes research on the impact of BMI on breastfeeding, and provides practical steps for working with mothers with higher BMIs.